Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

Cat Stuff

Fun New Things for Your Favorite Feline(s)

Cat Products Galore

By Sandy Robins

If you are looking to spoil your kitty with fun new toys, beds and pet accessories, you’re in luck. I recently attended SuperZoo 2014, a pet industry tradeshow held annually in Las Vegas where manufacturers of everything pet show-off their wares to retailers from across the country and around the world. Below are just a few out of hundreds of the cat products that I found interesting. Most are available now for your favorite feline—and all will be available for gifting during the holidays.

Sleepypod

Sleepypod has launched its self-titled carriers in a new limited-edition that features the fabulous Robin Egg blue (aka Tiffany blue). This stylish carrier has been crashed tested both in the United States and Australia and is made from ballistic nylon. The carrier converts into a bed when the dome is removed. Ideal for trips to the vet as scaredy-cats can be examined in the carrier if necessary, and perfect for cats who travel, as it can become a home away from home. www.sleepypod.com

 

 

WorldwiseMouse

Stylish new toys designed by celebrity Kathy Ireland include this patented Stretch and Chase© Mouse that will hone your kitty’s prey and pounce skills in the safe confines of the living room. Ireland’s new Loved Ones collection offers innovative and solution-based toys that will meet a variety of pet needs. The feline toys are filled with organic catnip to rev up the fun and ensure your cat gets plenty of exercise. www.worldwise.com

 

Motorola Scoutt 66Motorola’s new Scout 66 camera means you can check in on what your cat is doing when you are in at work or traveling anywhere in the world. The camera operates via a free app that works with both Apple and Android phones and various tablets. It allows pet owners to talk to their cats through the camera and also play a selection of soothing music if their kitty is feeling anxious being home alone. The Scout 66 is available at PetSmart. www.motorola.com

 

Earthbath-2-n-1

While many cats are water phobic, it may be necessary to bathe them if they suffer from a sensitive, itchy skin. Earthbath’s new 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo is pH-balanced for feline skins and contains ultra-mild coconut-based cleaners, supple conditioners,and aloe vera to soften the coat and re-moisturize the skin. This new formulation also includes vitamins A, B, D and E and glycerin for added moisture retention in the skin. www.earthbath.com

 

 

 

YeowwCigars

No cat can ever have too much catnip. Yeowww! Catnip Cigars are stuffed with Yeowww! organic catnip, and are perfect for cats who like to grip and kick; they can be tossed in the air, too. The cigars are available individually and in a new special three-pack tin. The ideal gift for the cat who has everything. www.duckyworld.com

 

 

PlushBlanketBed

If you cat is obsessed with kneading your throw or getting herself super comfortable in your freshly washed laundry then she will appreciate the patent-pending Blanketed Pet Bed from The Plush Pet Company. This very clever design has a comfy throw sewn into the bed for kitty to nest and nestle and purr off to sleep.  www.plushpecompany.com

 

Why Your Cat Needs Regular Visits to the Veterinarian

Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

By Lisa King

You should take your cat to the vet at least once a year for a check-up.

You should take your cat to the vet at least once a year for a check-up.

August 22 is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. There is no comparable day for dogs, so why is this annual reminder necessary? The answer is simple: Even though there are more pet cats than dogs in America, owners take their cats to the veterinarian about half as often as they take their dogs.

There are many reasons people are reluctant to take their cats to the vet regularly. Cats are seen as low-maintenance compared to dogs, and while this might be true overall, when it comes to medical care it is simply not the case. A cat should see his veterinarian once a year whether he has any symptoms or not. This applies even if yours is a young, sprightly, indoor-only cat.

Another problem for many cat owners is cost. Veterinarian visits aren’t cheap, but spending the money for a checkup annually can catch problems early, when they are easier to treat, thus saving you money in the long run.

Many owners resist taking their cats to the vet because it is so stressful for the cat. Cats are notoriously nervous about vet visits. Since most cats only get in their carriers and take car rides on vet day, no wonder they run and hide at the first sight of the carrier. The solution is to create positive associations with the carrier. Leave it out on the floor with the door open in a room your cat frequents. Line it with a comfy blanket and occasionally put a few treats, toys or a sprinkling of catnip inside. Your cat will come to see it as just another piece of furniture, and might even take naps inside. You can also put him in the carrier and take him on short drives that don’t end up at the vet’s office.

Another good reason for yearly exams is so your vet can get to know your cat, which will make it easier for her to diagnose what’s wrong with him if he develops symptoms. Establishing a good relationship with a vet also makes it easier for you to trust her judgment in matters of treatment.

During the annual exam, the vet will check your cat's teeth and gums.

During the annual exam, the vet will check your cat’s teeth and gums.

Once you’ve gotten your cat to the vet, a vet tech will first weigh him. Then comes the indignity of having his temperature taken with a rectal thermometer. The veterinarian will do a thorough check of your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth and teeth, looking for inflammation, discharge and other problems. She will listen to your cat’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope. She will also examine his paws, genitals and anus, and comb through his fur looking for evidence of fleas. Next, she will gently examine your cat’s body, looking for bumps, swelling or other abnormalities. If this is your cat’s first visit to a particular vet, she might want to do blood work to establish baseline values to compare against later tests.

Talk to your vet about flea control, deworming and dental care. The handling of these issues will depend on your individual cat’s circumstances. Vaccinations are another topic to discuss with your vet. While rabies shots area regulated by law, most other vaccinations are given at the owner’s discretion. Some vaccinations are recommended to be given annually, but increasingly vets are waiting three years between shots. Work out a plan that both you and your vet can live with. Don’t hesitate to ask questions; your vet can also offer advice and guidance regarding diet, behavior problems or any other concerns you have. 

As your cat ages into his senior years, he should visit the vet more often and be checked for arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, thyroid issues, heart disease and other conditions common in older cats. If you’ve been assiduous about regular checkups with a trusted vet when your cat was young, you’ll be in good hands if you have to face a serious illness.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

Make Sure Your Pets are Prepared in Case Disaster Strikes

Preparing Your Pets for Evacuation

By Stacy Mantle

RescuePetFloodWe never think it will happen to us, but the truth is a disaster can strike anywhere at any time. From hurricanes and fires, to gas leaks and terrorist threats, there are hundreds of reasons why you and your pets may need to evacuate your home. The important thing is to be prepared and to be certain your pets are, too. Here are some guidelines on getting your pets ready for evacuation.

Microchip Your Pets: This is the best way to ensure you and your pet are reunited. Be sure to register the tag (or change ownership if you adopted a dog or cat from a rescue). If you move, be sure to update your pet’s microchip information.  Always keep a recent photo of you and your pets on you. You never know when this information will be needed in case of separation. In addition to microchipping, your pets should always be wearing a collar with ID tags.

QR-coded tags are handy if you have a pet with a medical condition as you can store the information needed in one simple app. You decide how much of the information a stranger who finds your pet needs to know.

Know Where to Go: You should be certain you have a place to go in case of emergency. Search in advance for pet-friendly hotels in your area. In the event of long-term evacuation, you should have a plan in place with family or friends where you can take your pets.  You might also want to make prior arrangements with a kennel (for dogs or cats), a ranch (for large animals) or an animal rescue (for exotics).

Know Your Emergency Veterinarian Hospitals: Even if you don’t think you’ll need a veterinarian, you should know where your nearest 24-hour hospital is for your pets. This is particularly important if you have large animals who are more likely to injure themselves due to the stress of evacuation.

Make a Plan: You should have several ways to get out of your home with your pets, know how you will gather them safely in a timely period and identify a “meet place” with other family members. Map out your area and know where the nearest 24-hr veterinarian clinic is located so you can ensure your pets receive prompt attention in case of emergency. Verify that your veterinarian, pet sitter, trainer or daycare facility has an emergency plan in place if anything happens while your pets are under their care.

Create a “Go Bag”: Every household should have a single backpack that you can “grab and go” on the way out the door. This is a perfect bag for quick evacuations (gas leak, police evacuation or other temporary threat).

This bag includes a three-day supply of whatever your pets need for longer-term evacuations. Larger animals can carry their own packs if you plan well. You should have a go-bag in place for each animal and teach them ahead of time how to carry a pack. Smaller pets may need you to do the carrying.

  • Documentation: This includes an updated photo of you with your pet, microchip numbers, ID tag numbers and any emergency contact information in case anything happens to you.
  • Water: You and your pet need water. Keep a three-day supply of water for you and your pets in your go-bag. Plan on keeping 1 to 3 ounces of water per pound of body weight for each animal, each day.
  • Food: Keep at least three days of food for each pet in an airtight, waterproof container. Rotate these out on a monthly basis to ensure freshness. You may want to consider feeding your pets moist or canned food to assist in preventing dehydration. You can also consider purchasing premade emergency meal kits. (See resources below.)
  • Medicine: Keep an extra week of medicine on hand for pets who are on prescription medication.
  • Collar, Leash, ID Tags: Your pets should always be wearing a collar and ID tags, but it’s also a good idea to have an extra set stored in your “go bag.”
  • Dishes: Be sure you have at least one dish for feeding and watering your pets.

Crate: Be sure you have a way of transporting your pet securely. Conduct training exercises on a regular basis so that pets know the crate is a safe place. The goal is to have the crate be their location to run if anything frightens them. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a cat that has hidden in fear during an emergency situation.

Sanitation: Be sure you have a way to clean up after your pet. For cats, this means a spare litterbox and litter (these are premade and easy to dispose of). For dogs, this means plastic doggy bags. Your sanitation bags should also include paper towels, a disinfectant and wipes.

Use the Buddy System: A buddy system can be incredibly beneficial in saving your pets lives. Particularly if you work away from the home or have large animals (like horses), larger dogs who may be considered threatening (shepherds, pit bulls, etc.), or exotics (reptiles, ferrets, birds, etc.). Proper handling of these animals often means the difference between life and death. Work out an agreement between three and four families to learn how to handle one another’s animals. That way, you have back up if you’re out of town and emergency strikes at home.

Emergency Resources ASPCAPetFirstAid

 Premade Meal Kits and Bottled Water for Pets:

 First Aid Kit for Pets

 


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

What to Do if Your Cat Gets Stung

The Cats and the Bees

By Sandy Robins

CatBeeGardenDid you know that July 10 was “Don’t Step on a Bee Day.” Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? If you don’t believe me, go to a website called DaysOfTheYear.com and check this out along with national waffle day and national gummi bear day…

The whole idea of this day is to help preserve bees, which are in danger in many parts of the world. While saving bees is a good thing, they can present a problem when you have cats. Cats find them irresistible to watch, chase—and catch.

We have a succulent on our balcony where the cats are allowed to sit safely and sun themselves. Every year it produces a huge stem with hundreds of tiny yellow flowers and with it comes the bees that probably get more pollen from this one stop than from flitting from flower to flower.

Fudge couldn’t care less. Been there done that—this occurs every year. But Ziggy is fixated, watching their every movement. It must make him dizzy when several bees arrive at once and flit all over this huge flowering stem. When one bee lost its sense of direction and flew inside Ziggy took after it at high speed. I had to spring into action to prevent ensuing conflict.

After a couple of weeks of this, I realized I couldn’t sit and watch Ziggy watching the bees any longer because eventually he could catch one and probably get stung, so I cut off the huge stem and put into it into a vase instead.

CatwBeesWhat do you do if your cat gets stung on her nose, paws or anywhere else? First off, if possible, get the entire stinger out. (Note: wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bumble bees don’t leave their “stingers” behind.) A credit card is your best friend when it comes to removing a stinger. Use the credit card to scrape it away, making sure you get the whole stinger. Don’t use tweezers or your fingers as you might end up releasing more venom into or onto your cat. A sting won’t be too painful for your cat, according to veterinarians, but the site can swell up quickly. Ice will help reduce the swelling and it’s also a good idea to apply an antibiotic cream.

A friend’s cat chomped on a bee and got stung inside his cheek. That necessitated a trip to the vet and an antihistamine injection. In fact, any bee sting is definitely worth a follow up to the vet because cats can have an allergic reaction and go into shock. They might have difficulty breathing if the tissues of the throat swell. In addition, their blood pressure could plunge, resulting in a life-threatening complication. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms after being stung, take her to a veterinarian immediately.

Sorry bees. Next year when this plant flowers, I am going to cut off the flowering stem and put it in a vase straight away. I am going to buy Ziggy a toy that replicates a bee on a wand and play with him instead.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

ABC Celebrates Cats with Cat Training CEP: June is ‘Adopt a Shelter Cat Month’

Cat training and management could help more shelter cats find permanent homes.

Cat training and management could help more shelter cats find permanent homes.

Cats get a bad rap.

Undesirable behaviors like avoiding the litterbox, spraying, excessive scratching and other aggressive behaviors leave many owners frustrated and prevents prospective owners from adopting a cat altogether. Interestingly, what most people find surprising is that, like their dog counterparts, cats can be trained. June is “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” and Animal Behavior College (ABC) is commemorating the occasion by offering a Continuing Education Program (CEP) on cat management and training.

With millions of homeless cats euthanized in animal control pounds and shelters each year, ABC’s goal is to educate students, graduates and the public about this issue and dispel the many feline myths and stereotypes.

Since cat adoption information often does not discuss, convey or encourage cat training, there is an immense misconception that they cannot be trained. This misunderstanding leaves many owners and prospective owners believing they must tolerate negative behaviors. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge leads to a greater number of cats landing in shelters with very few being adopted.

The Cat Management online CEP teaches students proper socialization techniques. With more than 40 percent of dog owners also having cats, basic behavior training is essential to ensure a harmonious and happy environment. ABC’s professionals master techniques and demonstrate ways for developing and ensuring positive human-to-feline and feline-to-canine relationships. Learning cat management and training can also be a profitable venture for pet professionals in a variety of fields.

“Since cats are generally more independent than dogs, the belief is that this somehow renders them incapable of being trained,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. “Feline education programs equip professionals and owners with the information they need to help cats that may otherwise be re-homed or abandoned.”

With pet cats outnumbering dogs, learning how to train, manage and treat cat behaviors can be lucrative. There are 83.3 million dogs in the U.S. compared to 95.6 million cats, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding about cat behaviors encourages more adoptions that could save a shelter cat’s life.

The Cat Training and Management CEP program teaches students and graduates cat behaviors, training techniques and common commands. Additionally, they learn how to interpret feline body language and vocalizations and positive ways to address problem behaviors. The program
imparts an array of fun, stimulating behaviors like teaching a cat to roll over and jump through a hoop, too.

ABC graduates and students can learn more about the Cat Training and Management CEP and other CEPs by visiting the website at www.AnimalBehaviorCollege.com
or calling 1-800-795-3294.

Cat Bath – How To Bathe a Cat

how to bathe a cat, cat bath

How To Bathe A Cat

The general perception is that cats hate water, but in fact, they are natural swimmers. Certain breeds such as Abyssinians and Turkish Vans might even willingly join you in the shower. This misconception probably persists because the average domestic feline isn’t usually exposed to water on a regular basis. For an adult cat who has never been bathed to suddenly find herself in warm water can be very stressful and could even cause her heart rate to spike. However, if you introduce your feline to water from kittenhood, she will learn to tolerate a bath—and may even enjoy it.

It’s a good idea to get everything ready before you bring your cat into the equation. Make sure you have your shampoo and conditioning products open and have at least two towels in place. Special absorbent pet towels are excellent for removing excess water before you wrap your cat in an ordinary towel. If possible, warm your towels in advance by placing them in the dryer.

Remember, you have options. You can bathe your cat in the kitchen sink, in your bathtub or even in the shower stall. It will depend on how tolerant she is. Wherever you decide, be sure to put down a rubber mat or a towel on which she can stand. This will give her traction and make bath time less stressful for her—and for you.

Often, cats don’t like the sound of handheld shower sprays more than the actual water. The best way to deal with this type of hesitant cat is to place her in position and have several buckets of warm water on hand along with a sponge and a cup. The idea is to use the first bucket of water to sponge her before and during the shampooing and conditioning ritual and then to use the second bucket of water and cup to gently pour water over her fur for the final rinse.

Start washing your cat from her neck down to her toes and tail. Massage the bath formula into her fur—she will like that part. Dab shampoo and conditioner onto a cotton ball and work gently around the eyes, nose, ears and under the chin. Some cats might prefer the use of a pet wipe on facial areas.

If you are using any kind of special skin treatment, experts suggest that you apply it twice during a bath for it to effectively treat the condition. Leave the second application on for 5 to 15 minutes (cat permitting, of course) to allow the active ingredients to be properly absorbed.

Rinse the fur well to remove all traces of shampoo and conditioner, especially if you are using the “buckets-of-water” routine. If you are showering the products off, allow the water to run over your cat for at least 5 minutes to enable her skin to be properly hydrated. It’s very important to rinse well because products not designed to be left on the skin and fur can cause irritation. They might also be ingested when your cat takes over her own grooming and starts licking herself after you’ve completed the bath.

Also, never allow water to enter your cat’s ears—fold them over when rinsing. It’s not a good idea to place cotton balls in the ears because you may forget to remove them.

When your cat has been thoroughly rinsed and while she is still in the tub, use an absorbent pet towel to remove excess water. Then scoop her up in a warm, dry, fluffy one for the final toweling.

Longhaired cats should be gently brushed or combed after a bath so that their fur doesn’t mat during the drying process. If you are going to use a hair dryer, make sure that it’s made specifically for pets because those designed for humans are far too hot—and noisy.

No matter how efficient you are and how wonderful the experience is, you will probably still get a look from your cat that implies you didn’t do a proper job, so she is now forced to “clean up” after you.

But that’s just her natural grooming instincts kicking in. It’s what cats do.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

 

What to Know When Reading Cat Food Labels

Reading Cat Food Labels

How to determine what is really in your pet’s food.

By Sandy Robins

There is no question that reading cat food labels is not straightforward; in fact it can be very frustrating to the average cat owner. Cats are meat eaters (carnivores), meaning they require two to three times the amount of protein than omnivores, such as humans, do. Consequently, they rely mainly on nutrients found in animals—high protein, moderate fat and minimal carbohydrates—to meet their dietary needs.

For the layperson, the key is to look at the first three ingredients listed on the can packet or bag. By law, pet food ingredients must be listed on the label in descending order by weight, with the protein at the top of the list. However, it’s important to remember that the moisture content affects weight. So ingredients that are moisture-heavy, such as chicken or lamb, are listed higher on the ingredient list than the same ingredient that is added in a dry form.

In addition, similar materials listed as separate ingredients might out weigh other ingredients that precede them on the list. For example, chicken might be listed as the first ingredient, then wheat flour, ground wheat and wheat middling. In this instance, although chicken appears to be the predominant ingredient, when added together, all three wheat products could weigh more than the poultry. It gets more complicated because for a food to be called chicken, the ingredients have to be 95 percent or more of the total weight of the product. Then there are a variety of fancy names that crop up on the shelves—e.g., dinner, platter, delight and formula—that in fact means only 25 percent of the content is that particular ingredient.

A word about protein and feline basic nutritional needs: Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues and organs. They can be either animal-based (e.g.,chicken, lamb, turkey, fish and eggs) or plant-based (soy, vegetables and cereals). In addition, cat food often contains byproducts of animals or plants—the parts that people don’t normally eat. But don’t necessarily be put off by this. If a cat catches a bird it will eat everything—intestines, bones and all.

The type of meat products that most closely resemble what a cat would catch for itself in the wild comes from birds(chicken, turkey, duck and quail)and game animals(buffalo, ostrich, deer, and bison).Animal-based proteins also contain complete amino acids, such as taurine, arginine, cysteine and methionine. These are essential for cats because their bodies don’t synthesize them in adequate amounts. In particular, taurine is crucial to a cat’s diet and a deficiency is serious because it can cause blindness and fatal heart disease.

Cats also catch fish in the wild, so fresh fish can be an excellent addition to their diet. Fish is high in iodine and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and fur.

Because ingredient definitions and designations are standardized, it is difficult to determine the quality of ingredients. Ingredient quality can only be determined from laboratory analysis and animal feeding tests.It is up to the pet owner to  research various food manufacturers’ websites to get an idea of what they are offering. Once you’ve narrowed down the field, you should then discuss the diet with a very knowledgeable pet food retailer or, better still, with your cat’s veterinarian.

Since the pet food recall of 2007, cat food ingredients have come under scrutiny more than ever before.Accordingly,companies are going to great lengths to discuss their quality, such as human-grade contents.And inline with human food trends,organic ingredients are growing in popularity.

“A question we often get from pet parents is ‘how do I know if this food is organic?’” said Pete Brace, vice president of communications and pet parent relations for Castor & Pollux, a manufacturer of natural and organic food for pets. “There are strict labeling requirements around organic that enables pet parents to know the differences between products.”

A product with 70 to 94 percent organic ingredients can state on its label, “Made with organic…” but it cannot include the USDA logo, according to the USDA’s National Organic Program. However, those ingredients must still be certified by an independent third party. Products with 95 to 100 percent certified organic ingredients can use “organic” in the product name and bear the USDA logo. Both categories of organic products must include the name and contact information for the certifying agency on the back of the package.

Another growing trend is for single ingredient foods, which definitely makes it much easier to read a label.

Finally, you can read labels all you want, but the big question is whether you cat will eat the food.Pet food manufacturers, especially those whose products are grown and manufactured in the USA,try hard to be very transparent about what they are offering and are happy to talk to pet owners and discuss their concerns. So, once you have narrowed down the field, don’t be shy to ask for a sample directly from the manufacturer. Any company that proudly stands by what it sells will be only too happy to oblige.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

 

Taking Your Cat to the Vet – Petropolitan by Animal Behavior College

Taking Your Cat to the Vet

You can make a stressful event less so with these feline transportation tips.

By Sandy Robins

Cat Carriers - Traveling with Your Feline

It’s no secret; cats, carriers and cars do not add up to a fun time. The mournful meows en route can be very stressful on the driver too. Usually the destination is the vet’s office, which exacerbates the situation. And some cats are so anxious they pee inside the carrier, which just makes the trip even more uncomfortable for all concerned.

What to Know About Cat Carriers

It’s really important for your cat to understand that the carrier is not a big bad box.The best way to do this is to leave it open around the house and allow her curiosity to take over and initiate detailed explorations.

If your cat is so freaked out by your existing carrier, it might be a good idea to donate the one you have to an animal shelter and start over with a new one that has no bad associations. The latest designs offer additional ventilation and wider windows so they can look out at their surroundings.

If you are not planning on using it for air travel, consider purchasing a round carrier. Cats like to sleep curled up “in the round” and this could help her feel more at ease. Alternatively, a dog carrier could offer more comfort, as often they are a little roomier than those designed specifically for cats.

There are lots of things you can do beforehand to help make the journey less stressful for her, too. Start by adding some Rescue Remedy to the water bowl the night before. This is a tasteless calmative to help ease travel stress.

It’s also a good idea to spray the carrier just before a trip with a pheromone spray.

Research has shown that cats (as do dogs) communicate with each other via certain pheromones. A mother cat is able to calm her kittens through the natural pheromones she emits. Thus, products that mimic these pheromones can help a cat of any age feel more secure in the carrier and cope better while in the car.You can also consider placing a favorite toy in the carrier for comfort.

My Ziggy gets very stressed when we travel to the vet’s office. Consequently, I bought him a ThunderShirt, now available in different sizes for felines. The ThunderShirt works on the swaddling principle that mothers use to calm small babies and toddlers, and it has definitely made a difference for him. He still meows a bit, but he no longer emits long mournful meows and seems much calmer when we get to the destination and back home.

If your cat simply can’t control her bladder, it’s a really good idea to line the carrier with a puppy pee pad to absorb the accident and keep her dry and the carrier from smelling. Put a second one in a carrier pocket so that you have a fresh liner for the journey home.

The safest place for a carrier is on the floor of the front passenger seat or the floor area of the back seat. In this position, if you break suddenly, there is nowhere for the carrier to fly forward. However, this means your cat can’t really see what happening. Consequently, playing music on the journey can help keep her calm. There are even music modules specially designed to fit into a carrier to block out car and traffic noises.And don’t forget to talk to her, too. The latest research done by scientists at the University of Tokyo has shown that cats react to their owner’s voice.

However, if all this doesn’t help, there is the possibility that she suffers from motion sickness. Seek advice from your veterinarian. There are prescription products to ease the situation.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

 

 

Cat Treats Still Have Calories

Treating Without Fattening Up Your Cat. 

Calories count for felines, too.

By Sandy Robins

How many treats are too many. Learn how to reward your cat with treats that are low calorie

There’s no question that giving treats to your adoring and appreciative feline is very much a part of the human-animal bonding experience.

But it’s important to remember that all treats have calories. This must be taken in to account in determining your cat’s daily food allowance. Fortunately, manufacturers are cognizant of this, too, and many go to great lengths to put the number of calories per treat prominently on their packaging. So, it’s entirely up to you to establish the desired number to dish out daily in terms of your pet’s optimal weight and health.

There is also no shortage of types of treats in terms of tastes and textures. And, in order to make the reason for treating cats on a regular basis more “palatable” to pet parents, manufacturers have added a silent “ingredient” to treats: functionality. That’s part of the reason there is a slew of treat products with special ingredients that claim to help prevent ailments such as tartar buildup, bad breathe or even hairballs.

Instead of indiscriminate treating, it’s a good idea to give your feline specific reasons to expect a reward. Grooming is a perfect example. While most cats enjoy long massaging brushing strokes, they often get wriggly when its time for that mani-pedi. To make nail clipping more pleasurable, treat your cat when it’s over and eventually she will begin to realize there is something good about the whole process. In addition, rewarding only for good behavior also helps control the number of treats you give your cat on a regular basis.

I use Fudge’s favorite freeze-dried fish treats as an incentive to get her to sit still for a couple of minutes twice a week when I have to give her subcutaneous fluids. From being totally resistant, she’s now tolerant of the procedure.

As people become more aware that it’s possible to train cats—even if it’s something as simple as getting them to sit on command—a treat is a wonderful reward for an action well done. Consequently, treats are very much a part of the popular clicker-training process whereby cats (and dogs) are trained using the click-and-treat positive-reward methodology.

Cats in the wild are used to hunting and working for food. Consider setting out a treasure hunt in your home by hiding treats and some of your cat’s favorite toys in different locations. This is a great way to prevent boredom and keep her engaged and “on the hunt” when she is home alone. You can also hide treats in specially designed cat puzzle toys or treat balls to keep the games going. And, if your cat has a favorite treat, change things up by trying different ones from time to time.

Another way to control treats—and prevent you from handing them out indiscriminately all day— is to use them to build a routine. I have a friend who likes to treat her three felines just before her bedtime. The cats know this and line up in front of the treat drawer every evening at 10:00 pm.

There might be occasions when your veterinarian says “No treats—ever,” for health reasons. However, you can take a small percentage of your cat’s daily kibble allowance and use it as a substitute for actual treats. By doing so, she still gets to enjoy the treating process without countering the vet’s instructions.

Finally, be sure to store your treats in a well-sealed treat jar, in a kitchen drawer or closet. You want to make sure your feline’s ingenuity for getting into things won’t enable her to party until the packet is finished, defeating your goal of keeping everything under control.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

 

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